Eric Moreland says Stan Van Gundy "likes gritty guys, and that's what I do." Rod Beard, The Detroit News
Orlando, Fla. — Pistons president Stan Van Gundy said before the start of free agency that the main roster needs were for a scoring guard, a third point guard and a third center.
With one move, the Pistons may have knocked out two-thirds of that shopping list. On Saturday, the Pistons agreed to terms with guard Langston Galloway — reportedly for three years and $21 million, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski — and may have some other benefits as well.
Galloway, at 6-foot-2, can play either guard spot, but projects more as a reserve shooting guard for the Pistons, with the ability to be the third point guard behind Reggie Jackson and Ish Smith, if pressed into that situation.
In his three seasons, Galloway has looked comfortable in either spot, but the early indications from the Pistons are that he’s a good fit to play shooting guard, despite his smaller size, because he’s fared well with a quick release from beyond the arc.
Last season, he averaged 7.9 points, 2.1 rebounds and 1.3 assists in 79 games with the Sacramento Kings and New Orleans Pelicans. His first two seasons were with the New York Knicks — and he’s regarded around the league as a solid player and good teammate.
“It’s great for us; he’s a guy who is going to bring a type of leadership to our team, someone who can score the ball and play both (backcourt) positions,” said Pistons forward Tobias Harris, who was in Orlando to watch the Summer League team. “He’s a great locker-room guy also, a high-character guy. I know a lot about him, just from hearing about him from different people.
“He’ll definitely help us out a lot.”
Acquiring Galloway also creates a crowded backcourt, especially after drafting shooting guard Luke Kennard. It’s seen as more of a precautionary move, because of the uncertainty of the health of Jackson, who missed 30 games last season. That forced the Pistons to look to Beno Udrih as the third point guard and Smith as the starter.
Tobias Harris discusses the Pistons' prospects for 2017-18. Rod Beard, The Detroit News
What further complicates the situation is that starting shooting guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope is a restricted free agent and his return is uncertain. Through the first day of free agency, Caldwell-Pope reportedly hasn’t received an offer sheet and though he was the top priority for Van Gundy in the early hours of the period, there hasn’t been any movement.
Caldwell-Pope is the Pistons’ best perimeter defender, but if he takes another offer and leaves Detroit, Galloway could be a stopgap measure.
With some of their issues last season, it’s an area the Pistons have been looking to improve.
“As a whole group, we have to have more of a defensive approach going into next year. That’s something we got away from because we were able to score the previous year at a good clip,” Harris said.
“With a guy like Langston, who can play defense at both positions, that will help us out.”
On the perimeter, Galloway’s 6-8 wingspan helps to offset his relative lack of size and he’s a good 3-point shooter (39 percent last season).
Kennard passes it around
Kennard, who went 4-of-6 on 3-pointers in the Pistons’ 92-91 loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder on Saturday, went 1-of-5 from 3 on Sunday. He showed other parts of his game, though, creating opportunities for his teammates, notching three assists.
Kennard missed his first shot from 3, but after an offensive rebound, made the second try. He followed with another basket in transition and was on his way to 10 points in the first quarter, helping the Pistons to a 103-78 win over the Knicks. Henry Ellenson added 14 points, seven rebounds and four assists, plus Eric Moreland had 15 points, six rebounds and four blocks.
The Pistons (1-1 in Summer League play), led, 26-16 after the first quarter, 50-31, at halftime and had a 77-47 bulge entering the final quarter.
The Pistons were on the wrong end of a controversial call near the end of Saturday’s loss to the Thunder.
An official made an incorrect call on a foul during an inbounds play, awarding two free throws and possession of the ball, instead of just one free throw.
The Pistons tried to protest the call but the referee didn’t consult with the rest of the officiating crew and the call stood.
“I don’t know why they gave them two and they told our whole staff to get back. I’m really at a loss; I’m not going to criticize,” assistant coach Bob Beyer said. “I hope you can’t fine a Summer League coach, but that’s the wrong assessment of a foul. It’s a one-shot foul, not two.”
Get to know ...
Hometown: Baton Rouge, La.
High school: Christian Life Academy, Baton Rouge, La.
College: Saint Joseph’s
Drafted: Went undrafted in 2014; signed with Knicks after playing for them in NBA Summer League in 2014
NBA statistics: 182 games, 9.0 points, 3.3 rebounds, 2.3 assists in three seasons with the Knicks and Pelicans